France May Ban Anti-Semitic Arab Television

France will take action to ban Arab satellite television stations from broadcasting anti-Semitic programs on its airwaves, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said.

Raffarin told French Jewish leaders on Saturday he was revolted by the broadcasts and would propose legislation to fine those who violate the ban.

"I say to the Jews of France, do not be afraid, do not be tempted by those who want to separate you from the national community," Raffarin told 800 people at the annual dinner of CRIF (search), an umbrella group of French Jewish organizations.

Israel recently asked France to block broadcasts by Al-Manar (search), a television station that belongs to Hezbollah (search), an anti-Israeli guerrilla group in south Lebanon.

Israel and the United States have formally protested Al-Manar's broadcasting of a series based on the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a 19th-century tract the Nazis later used to incite hatred against Jews.

The program spoke of a global Jewish government. In one scene, an actress playing a diseased prostitute in a European brothel run by a Jewish madam speaks of her desire to infect non-Jews.

Al-Manar, known for airing diatribes against Israel and video of the Lebanese Hezbollah attacking Israeli soldiers, commissioned a Syrian company to produce the series.

Raffarin said Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon (search) was to prepare an amendment to electronic communications legislation being examined by the National Assembly on Feb. 10.

The amendment would assign the CSA, France's media watchdog, the task of taking violators to court.

The president of Eutelsat, which transmits the Hezbollah channel in France, will be asked to testify before the CSA, Raffarin said.